Hey all, I've seen a lot of fun and entertaining build threads on the forum and thought it about time to contribute my own. But as I'm a broke college student the thread will be less about building it up, and more about keep it alive -- thus survival thread. Hoping ya'll can help me in this mission. Here's a little bit about the ride: Purchased the vehicle coming up on three years ago after moving to Anchorage, Alaska for $1,600 with about 114 k on the odometer. It was the third car I had checked out, and I instantly fell in love with the all red interior and the commanding view an SUV offers over the road. Prior to owning the Explorer I barely knew how to change an air filter so it became something of a training car for me to work on while not being too concerned about it "exploding" or me messing something up. I'm now pretty comfortable replacing about anything on the car so in that regard it's already paid for itself in education. The man I bought it from bought it from his parents (so second owner). His folks used the car as something of a taxi to bring people from the airport to their RV park thing they ran -- in the right light you can still see the outline of their phone number on the side of the car. Within the first four days of owning, on a frosty and snowy morning, I pulled out of the driveway to have it die (battery). Had a kindly gentlemen push my car back into my driveway -- with his Ford F150 and a tire in between the cars -- and thus has begun my love affair with the Explorer. Here's where I'm at (specs), and where I'm hoping to go with the Explorer: Modifications/upgrades/stats/etc... in no particular order.: - Just rolled over 130 k from originally purchased 114 (over three years, apx). - Flowmaster muffler - Pioneer deck - Dual speakers in the front, Kicker speakers in the rear (straight wiring to the deck; bypassing preamp). - Replaced shock absorbers with Gabriel (autozone) brand el cheapos. First real upgrade, huge difference in the ride. - New battery. - New tension belt pulley thing. - New positive battery cable. - New alternator. - New starter. - New tie rods (outer and inner). - Transmission fluid and filter change. - Oil and filter changed at every 3-5 k with full synthetic. Air filter on similar schedule. - New spark plugs (motorcraft) and wires (autozone brand, I think). - Swapped passenger and driver seats around in car -- I rarely have passengers and the passenger side seat has a lot more cushioning. - Aftermarket license plate bracket/faux brush guard installed with a pair of Walmart brand off road lights (each 50 watts). - Dope vanity plate that says HUG but after the picture of a bear (bearhug). Get a lot of photos in traffic. - Smoked front turning signals. - Replaced driver's side window switch area with Ebay part due to the old one cracking in half. - Retrofitted a second generation explorer cargo cover to fit first generation explorer (hacksaw method). - Zip tie mod (accelerator a bit loose). - Has an auto start, but need new fob? - Block heater, but I think is non-functional. - New brake pads (pad SLAP!). Unresolved issues: - Leaking front differential from RF seal (I believe). - Sporadically leaking coolant hose (only during winter and when I have to crank the heat to warm up in the mornings). Been happening since I've owned it. Top off coolant as needed. - Ongoing issue with leaking from oil filter. Going to examine thoroughly on next change here, but thinking a chunk of old gasket is stuck on there. Only started happening over last few oil changes. - Power locks don't work (except the passenger side unlock switch). - Alignment not right. I went, and paid, to have it aligned after installing tie rods, but it's crooked still. Tires wearing alright so I haven't worried too much, but still kind of annoying to have the steering wheel off center. They claimed they couldn't align correctly because my lower ball joints are worn? I had another mechanic say that's not true. What do ya'll think? - One of the two cords connecting to the accelerator is extremely loose. Threw zip ties on and it helped a great deal but still a bit loose. Upcoming plans for the Explorer: - Get my winter tires on or buy this new set I'm eyeing (31 Hankooks on studs). Never driven on 31s but that be sweet. - Oil change and diagnosing filter leak. - Getting a battery blanket -- a thing up her in Alaska. - I'm guessing my battery will give up this winter. On year 3 (cheap one). I've had to replace alternator, battery cable and starter over last two winters so the battery is my only real weak link in the power department. - Would like to install new front seats or at least putting a new driver's seat in. A black leather would be sweet. - Replace high rear brake light assembly (I snapped 3 of 4 retaining pieces while replacing bulbs, eek). - Getting remote entry for front two doors, at least. I'd be really stoked on getting that done. Anyone taken this on? What does it entail? - Rerouting my stereo wiring. I ran the wires straight to the deck (so not through the door panels) so looks a little off with random wires everywhere. - Installing an amp and subs (BUMP!). - Fixing coolant leak. Thanks for taking a gander. I'll try and post some photos up soon, and hopefully get enrolled with Elite status so I can have the pics in the thread. Next up is oil change and tires!